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NRCS Honors Volunteers During National Volunteer Week

NRCS Honors Volunteers During National Volunteer Week

Story by Melissa Blair

National Volunteer Week is April 10-16 and the USDA�s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is celebrating the week by thanking and honoring its Earth Team volunteers for their service to conservation. Nationally, in fiscal year 2010, nearly 30,000 people donated 641,549 hours of service to NRCS.

NRCS Acting State Conservationist Salvador Salinas said 218 Earth Team volunteers donated 5,733.50 hours of service in Texas alone. �That�s worth $119,543.48 of benefit to our customers and the taxpayers,� Salinas said. �These are impressive numbers and we are grateful for the help, but we also recognize much more conservation work needs to be done.�

Earth Team is NRCS� official volunteer resource. The program partners volunteers with NRCS employees. It was created in 1985 and offers opportunities to individuals over the age of 14 who are interested in volunteering and making a positive difference for the nation�s natural resources. Through the use of community projects, volunteers assist NRCS conservationists in areas ranging from conservation technical assistance to teaching and generating awareness about conservation.

�The NRCS theme for this year puts it best - Earth Team Volunteers are the Key Foundation of Conservation,� Salinas said. �They allow us to stretch available resources and help us put conservation practices on the ground. And, as Chief Dave White said a year ago, �Earth Team makes it possible for us to achieve our mission of Helping People Help the Land.� �

Salinas said he hopes National Volunteer Week will motivate others to volunteer to help NRCS with its conservation mission. �Earth Team volunteers work closely with our staff and they play an important role in our state�s conservation work. As a result, volunteers tell us our assignments are personally very rewarding,� Salinas said.

For more information on the Earth Team Volunteer Program visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/feature/volunteers or call (toll-free) 888-526-3227.

NRCS (originally called the Soil Conservation Service) has provided leadership in a partnership effort to help America's private land owners and managers conserve their soil, water and other natural resources since 1935. For more information on NRCS visit www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov.